Donald Trump is pushing ahead with his campaign promise to build a massive border wall between the US and Mexico, disregarding criticisms about the cost and physical feasibility of the project. Despite the fact that the wall will be a massive infrastructure project, the administration seems to be in a rush to begin work as soon as possible – last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued an open call for designs – but architects have just five days to submit their proposals.
There’s won’t be a lengthy period to prepare for the open call period, either – submissions open soon, starting on March 6th and closing on March 10th. The administration plans to choose a set of finalists by March 20th and to make final contract awards in mid-April. In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24th, Trump claimed construction would begin as soon as possible, calling the project “way, way, way ahead of schedule.”
Architects and designers have, of course, already published numerous plans for the border wall online, although none of their suggestions are likely to please the new President. One Mexican design firm suggested a hot pink wall that would cut through cities, across rivers, and through mountain ranges. Another suggested building it out of recycled shipping containers. One other tongue-in-cheek suggestion involved an Ikea-style instruction booklet for building the 1,000-mile barrier.
Despite an estimated price tag of potentially billions of dollars, it’s still unclear exactly how the wall is going to be funded. The rush to award a contract seems a bit premature in light of the budgeting issues involved.